How to Write Self-Destructing Private Notes

So privacy is important to you, but you still want to be able to use the Notes app on your iPhone. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have private notes that self-destructed after a set amount of time? You can! Here’s how.

A Separate Note App

The solution requires an additional third-party note taking app. One that’s either free or cheap as this idea lacks any monetization strategy and the author expects some people will just choose not to follow these instructions because of cost.

The app doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, all you need is a way to create привнот notes and add, edit or delete notes within a set time frame.

The app recommended for this solution, SecuNotes, meets this requirement and fits the price point perfectly at $0.99 on the App Store. I would love to use iThoughtsHD for its gorgeous interface, but it’s not free and requires an in-app subscription after 7 days. Sad face.

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The process

Creating a new note in pirvnota

When you insert pirvnota into your Notes app, a note template will be created for you. The app has a very simple and sparse interface that’s easy to navigate. You can create as many notes as you wish, add/edit/delete them or search for them. There are no widgets and the only knob available is the time frame that dictates how long notes will be preserved (by default this is 14 days).

You do not have to create a new note each time you want to create a private note. You can use any existing note, an existing email and change the retention period.

Once you’ve created a note, it’ll be saved as usual and all the editing that you’d normally do on it will be synced with the web version as well.

Once you open your web browser, you’ll see the note’s contents in the usual format. There is no need to log in and no need to create an account. Any note you create will be automatically saved.

The magic happens when you go back to your phone. You’ll see your note with the usual timestamp, app name and icon of the current iOS Notes app, plus a small circular indicator (a clock in the case of pirvnota) at the right-hand corner of your note that indicates how much time is left before the note self-destructs. You can tap on the note to edit it before the time limit expires.

The clock icon is really simple, so if you want to insert a more-obvious indicator with a more obvious countdown, you can use something like TextArt+ and add your own self-destructing countdown text as an overlay that will be displayed when you tap on your note.